Cronkite, Rooney hail film, with some reservations

Arts

October 23, 2005|By ORLANDO SENTINEL

CBS News legends Walter Cronkite and Andy Rooney rave about the recently released Good Night, and Good Luck, but they worry that the George Clooney movie could baffle younger viewers.

"Because of the complexity of the story line, and the entire generation that's grown up since those events, some of us felt there should have been a little introduction to what it was all about to set the scene," says Cronkite, 88, former CBS Evening News anchorman.

Here's an introduction: Director Clooney depicts how Edward R. Murrow of CBS News challenged Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy's intimidating methods in investigating Communist influence on the U.S. government in the 1950s. The senator's way of making accusations with little evidence shook the country and spawned the term McCarthyism.

On the program See It Now in 1954, Murrow offered a blistering expose of McCarthy and called on the public to oppose the senator. McCarthy's support declined before his death in 1957.

"It's a fairly sophisticated danger that wasn't laid out too clearly in the movie to begin with," says Rooney, 86, of 60 Minutes. "You have to catch on as it goes along."

Yet Rooney adds that he's encouraged that moviegoers want to know the story.

So far, the film has generated strong box-office receipts in limited release.

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